This weekend, State of Belief explores peace-building strategies and solutions in Syria,introduces a new effort to highlight the many Christians who support LGBT equality, and presents a discussion about how domestic political pressures influence U.S. decisions on international military involvement. Download Icon

Peace-building amidst Syria’s escalating violence
The enormity of the crisis in Syria is difficult to overstate – and just as difficult to understand, with analyses as confident as they are conflicting. It may be beyond us to fully understand the events on the ground there, but what we can do is focus on people who, at great personal risk, are doing important work to bring some of the opposing factions together. One organization that’s long taken the lead is Religions for Peace, the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s great religions dedicated to promoting peace. Secretary General of Religions for Peace, Dr. William Vendley will explain the work its representatives have been doing to find peace building solutions in the Syrian conflict.

The intersection of homosexuality and faith
A wide range of welcoming and affirming religious groups are actively reaching out to LGBT persons – many of whom bear the scars of past rejection and condemnation by faith communities. Still, the media maddeningly turns again and again to the same tired old voices of exclusion when covering matters of gays and God. A new attempt to counter this misperception is the video website “Not All Like That,” modeled on the hugely successful “It Gets Better” campaign. The website is the brainchild of writer John Shore, who will discuss how the site gives affirming people of faith a concrete way to express support for LGBT equality.

International military decisions left up to domestic politics
How do you focus on Syria, with one eye on electoral politics and the other on personal legacy? While the Obama Administration and Congress weigh the options, George Washington University’s Greg Lebel will share his firsthand knowledge of the influence American domestic politics can have on such a moment – and what influence it’s likely to have on this particular moment in American history.

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